Things blew up this last week when it came to writing. For a while, it felt like "pick on Dylan week" but then I quickly realized there was a lot being said that I needed to listen to.
On my serial, I'm at week fourty. Fourty weeks of mostly positive comments, people saying they loved it, and generally lots of egoboos. Then, this week, one of the readers blew up at me. Mainly because I introduced a character with very little warning. I thought it made sense, because the main character didn't know it was going to happen, but it set off a storm of comments.
In a rush, I got a ton of things from "you forgot this character" or "what about that area of the space station? You mentioned it earlier but never went to it." And then complaints about how the new character was just "another step up" in the main character's development. This is modeled after a shōnen because of its length so they had a point.
And it wasn't just "you suck" emails but huge, essay-like responses telling me everything I've done wrong in the last 210k words. And things they wanted to see, and things they missed with the earlier chapters, and every other little thing. That one blow up encouraged everyone to jump in and give their two credits.
I apologized for upsetting them and thanked them for their feedback. The entire time I also wrote down everything they said so I can go back with the edits. But, I'm writing this a week at a time and it is hard to plan a year in advance every little detail. Apparently, I missed two things and didn't foreshadow three others properly. And there is a certain "pattern" with the villians that has been repeated too often.
The fact they are still interested after forty weeks says something though. (I hope.)
In the end, we all kissed and made up. I got a few suggestions since then but as MZR said, "people get picky the more they like it."
The flood of responses is good. I've always had a problem with getting feedback on my stories. Either it is "it is great! you should publish" or nothing. I thought I was doing great on the serial… I wasn't. Well, pretty much everyone suggested that if I gave up on it, they would hunt me down and beat me with rubber hoses, so I'm going to keep it at "I'm doing well."
Since I was feeling vulerable, I decided to ask a large group of anonymous people what they thought of Flight. So, I posted a hunk of the first chapter on Reddit and asked. It has only been a few hours, but some of the feedback I've gotten mirrors the vauge comments I've gotten from others, but they found a way of telling me why it didn't work. Or at least specifics that jumped up as wrong.
I think it will help, or at least give me something to work with.
I also got one "just give up" but I'm not quite ready for that yet.